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[kom-pri-hen-shuh n] /ˌkɒm prɪˈhɛn ʃən/
the act or process of comprehending.
the state of being comprehended.
perception or understanding:
His comprehension of physics is amazing for a young student.
capacity of the mind to perceive and understand; power to grasp ideas; ability to know.
Logic. the connotation of a term.
Origin of comprehension
late Middle English
1400-50; late Middle English < Latin comprehēnsiōn- (stem of comprehēnsiō), equivalent to comprehēns(us) (past participle of comprehendere to comprehend) + -iōn- -ion
Related forms
miscomprehension, noun
noncomprehension, noun
precomprehension, noun
supercomprehension, noun
uncomprehension, noun Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for comprehension
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • The cleavage between the two attitudes is too sharp for the comprehension of other nations.

    Out To Win Coningsby Dawson
  • I cannot perceive that our own comprehension of it is at all essential to the matter.

  • It had not entered her comprehension that the real facts could be unknown, though they had never been communicated to herself.

    Greifenstein F. Marion Crawford
  • The young man had no comprehension of the fact that he was only a pawn in the game.

    Within the Law Marvin Dana
  • Instinct leads us to a comprehension of life that intellect can never give.

    Unicorns James Huneker
British Dictionary definitions for comprehension


the act or capacity of understanding
the state of including or comprising something; comprehensiveness
(education) an exercise consisting of a previously unseen passage of text with related questions, designed to test a student's understanding esp of a foreign language
(logic, obsolete) the attributes implied by a given concept or term; connotation
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for comprehension

mid-15c., from Middle French comprehénsion (15c.), from Latin comprehensionem (nominative comprehensio) "a seizing, laying hold of, arrest," figuratively "perception, comprehension," noun of action from past participle stem of comprehendere (see comprehend). In reading education, from 1921.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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comprehension in Medicine

comprehension com·pre·hen·sion (kŏm'prĭ-hěn'shən)
See apperception.

The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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